Why NAM members continue to demand for UN Security Council reforms

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Why NAM members continue to demand for UN Security Council reforms
Security Council meeting

Today during the Ministerial meeting of the 19th Non-aligned Movement summit, South Africa’s minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, reiterated the call for reforms of the United Nations Security Council to incorporate Africa, Asia and Latin America as permanent members. This is the same call that was reiterated during the 18th NAM minister’s meeting in Azerbaijan in 2019. One will ask then why this continues to be a point of reference.

Representation Gap: The Current Structure of the UNSC has five permanent members (P5) with veto powers, namely; China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States. NAM members opine that this structure, established in 1945, is outdated and does not reflect the current demographics and realities of the international community. They claim many developing countries, representing a majority of the world's population, have little to no say in matters of international peace and security.

Lack of Transparency and Accountability: The P5's veto power allows them to block any resolution, regardless of support – or lack thereof – from other members, raising concerns about accountability and potential abuse of power in the UNSC. NAM states advocate for a more transparent and inclusive decision-making process within the Security Council, arguing that the P5 often operate like a "club" making decisions behind closed doors.

Demands for Equitable Representation: NAM proposes expanding the council's permanent membership to include representation from regions like Africa, Asia, and Latin America, proportionally reflecting the global demographic balance.

These demands of course have been met with challenges albeit with some prospects. Besides the P5’s resistance to any reforms that would dilute their power and veto right, internal disagreements within NAM regarding preferred reform models and the challenges on consensus building on reforms that requires balancing the interests of developed and developing nations, makes the process more arduous.

Despite these challenges, NAM continues to push for UN Security Council reform, viewing it as essential for improving the body's legitimacy, effectiveness, and representation in an increasingly interconnected world. The UN General Assembly has adopted several resolutions calling for Security Council reform in recent years, but progress has been slow.

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